Be Mine Forever: Dads and Their Daughters (PHOTOS)Serge Bielanko
I’m fine with Valentine’s Day being mostly about ‘romantic’ love and getting a box of Rite-Aid chocolates for your sweetheart and all, but truth be told, I sometimes wish there could be a whole separate Valentine’s kind-of-day aimed at celebrating another bond that’s pretty close to a lot of hearts out there.
I’m talking about the daddy/daughter one.
Four years ago, when my daughter Violet was born, I was tough to the world. Very little made me emotional in the sweet or tender sense, and even less were the number of my heart strings I allowed to be plucked.
I was a man in his mid-30’s living his life the best that he knew how. I had friends, a job, a wife, all the stuff you are supposed to have, really.
But, oh what I was missing.
When my daughter was born, massive icebergs inside of me melted down in minutes. Cold walls that took decades to erect and fortify with hard living and pain and fortitude in the name of survival, they crumbled down as if they were made of Rice Krispy treat.
I watched my tiny daughter’s head popping out into this world and in so many ways, I was right there with her, being born once again.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my son just as much as I do my little girl. And that goes for any pop, I’m sure. Yet, I do believe there is a certain type of magic that exists between a father and his daughter; something gentle and unspoken and protective that goes between them which is different than any other sort of relationship that any fellow has ever had before.
So these days, when I see a dad carrying his new daughter around in a Bjorn in the supermarket, or when I spot a four year-old girl perched up on her daddy’s shoulders on a Saturday afternoon in the park, man, I just smile out loud, because I know how awesome and special that relationship is.
And I know exactly how much that perfect stranger’s life changed for the better the very moment that his daughter came along
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Dads and Daughters 1 of 20There has always been a special bond between dads and their little girls. No one knows exactly why. It's just the truth.
Sweetness 2 of 20
A New Macho 3 of 20It doesn't take long for even the most hard-headed macho guys to realize that having a daughter requires a new kind of macho. You have to be willing to let your heart do the thinking, instead of your guts. And when you do, the rewards are endless.
Little Partners 4 of 20Daughters seem to really take to being around their daddies at a very young age, especially if there are a lot of shoulder rides and chest pack rides and all. The more time we spend with each other, the more it seems like we understand one another.
Conversations 5 of 20Dads have a certain way of explaining things that I think appeals to their little girls. Moms are great at it too, of course, but with dads, I think daughters feel comfortable knowing that they can totally buy into what daddy is saying...or they can just ignore it and no one will really notice.
Little Miss Fragile 6 of 20For me, and I think for a lot of dads, holding a tiny baby girl in our arms seems like the most fragile pristine thing in the world. With baby boys, we are gentle of course, but it's those baby gals that seem to be made of thin glass to us. I think they appreciate our kid gloves, too.
Her Smile 7 of 20It's pretty tough to describe just how uplifting the sight of a daughter's smile is to her dad. Seeing her happy and safe and thriving in this world is our ultimate dream once she arrives, so just her beaming grin is enough to make us feel like kings.
Setting the Stage 8 of 20When dads are close to their daughters when they are small, we help set the stage for a much stronger bond as she begins to grow and need us in ways we never could have dreamed of when she was just our little baby.
Daddy Daughter Days 9 of 20To me, nothing is quite as cool as spotting a dad and his little girl out in the mall or having lunch together somewhere. I have just begun to have these sort of 'dates' with my four year-old daughter and they are, without a doubt, some of the coolest afternoons I have ever experienced.
Her Protector 10 of 20Every man seeks fulfillment in this lifetime, but it isn't always easy to find. Daughters help provide that for us though. By needing us to look after them, and by counting on us to always be there for them, that special kind of daddy/daughter bond begins to serve as one of the main reasons we were put here on this Earth. It becomes, in a sense, our very cool destiny.
Teachers 11 of 20Sure, dads are pretty good teachers when it comes to helping little girls figure certain things out. But think about this. Who has ever taught us more about living and life, dads, than our daughters have? We teach them, that's for sure. But I'm starting to believe that they teach us way way more.
Best Buds 12 of 20The other day, I told my daughter that she was my best buddy. "Girls can't be buddies, Dad!" she exclaimed. I then spent the next half-hour convincing her that they certainly can be. And that they certainly are.
Being There 13 of 20Introducing our daughters to stuff in the world, no matter what it is, is thrilling. Girls can do anything that boys can do. And if you don't believe that, take a good hard look at your little girl and think again.
Gettin’ Silly 14 of 20Moms are great at getting silly with their little girls. But when you get right down to it, dads might just be a little tiny bit better, huh?
The Brotherhood 15 of 20I'm not going to lie here. Whenever I see another dad out on the street with his daughter in his arms or by his side, I always feel a brotherhood with him. And that's a good thing; we need more brotherhoods in this world.
It Says A Lot 16 of 20Maybe it seems a little presumptive, but whenever I spot a guy that seems like a good dad hanging out with his daughter, I always feel a little bit better about the world in general.
Playing Together 17 of 20For daughters, playing a game with their daddy in the yard is kind of like winning a small but awesome prize. And for dads, it's kind of like being given the keys to eternal happiness, if only for an hour or two.
The Ties That Bind 18 of 20I guess it's easy to lose sight of the fact that every time a dad listens to his daughter explain something, or every time he swings her by the arms and makes her giggle wildly, he is helping to make sure that she knows she is loved. And that is the greatest gift any dad can ever give.
Growing Up 19 of 20There is nothing in this universe that can actually prepare a father for watching his little girl grow up. It is a magical experience and the luckiest among us remind ourselves of that every single day.
There Comes A Time 20 of 20Sooner or later, our baby girls aren't just ours anymore. They move out into the world to live their own lives. But the bond never ever goes away, and that is a beautiful thing. Happy Valentine's Day.